Monday, January 16, 2012

Schools Learn Evolution...

The hard way.  An article in the Post this morning about how schools are discovering that the "recent" educational fad of rewarding "self esteem" rather than actual accomplishment has been a net negative:

A growing body of research over three decades shows that easy, unearned praise does not help students but instead interferes with significant learning opportunities. As schools ratchet up academic standards for all students, new buzzwords are “persistence,” “risk-taking” and “resilience” — each implying more sweat and strain than fuzzy, warm feelings.

“We used to think we could hand children self-esteem on a platter,” Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck said. “That has backfired.”

Dweck’s studies, embraced in Montgomery schools and elsewhere, have found that praising children for intelligence — “You’re so clever!” — also backfires. In study after study, children rewarded for being smart become more likely to shy away from hard assignments that might tarnish their star reputations.
Human beings, and animals in general, evolved to learn from mistakes.  Mistakes have negative consequences, and evolution has provided us brains to help us learn to avoid those negative consequences.  Rewarding mistakes, then, is precisely the wrong tack to take.  Kids learn that if you get rewarded (praised) for not learning something, you may as well not learn it.

Is it too late to sue for malpractice?

No comments:

Post a Comment